Bike to Work Week, warmer weather make city streets more crowded

CHICAGO (WLS) -- You may notice city streets becoming more crowded as the weather warms, with pedestrians, cars, bikes and, for a short time, scooters sharing the road. Learning to coexist is not an easy task. Whether traveling by foot or with some number of wheels, Chicago commuters complain about each other.

"I think there should be more awareness not only with drivers but also pedestrians because many times they are walking in the bike lane," cyclist Maria Quiroz said.

Brad Dworkin, a pedestrian, said cyclists are the ones who need to be more aware.

"They think somehow they are in the suburbs or nothing is going to happen to them," he said. "I guess the warning is be alert if you are a biker in the Loop."

Christine Powell, a driver, also pointed the finger at her two-wheel counterparts.

"It's just like you can't see them sometimes and then they shoot past you so fast on the bike you'll just be scared and you'll slam on your brakes," she said.

The biking community says that improving infrastructure for cyclists would benefit all parties. The Active Transportation Alliance celebrated Bike Week this week by looking forward to a new state transportation bill that provides $50 million a year for the next six years for walking and biking projects.

"The funding will work out to about four to six major projects per year across the state for better infrastructure for biking and walking," said Clare McDermott, managing director of marketing and special events for the advocacy group.

Priority projects include repainting faded bike lanes and expanding bike lanes beyond the Loop to the South and West Sides.

In the meantime, the Active Transportation Alliance urges cyclists, pedestrians and drivers to follow the rules of the road, watch the signals and each other to avoid what seems like too many close calls.
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